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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal January 2014

Last Post 1485 days 9 hours ago

Winter Colour

28 January 2014 17:31:29

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Did all my gardening with the camera today! Too much other stuff got in the way of any actual gardening but I was delighted with the little bits of colour I managed to capture in a quick ramble round the garden.

I really want to move the Hamamalis but I'm not sure when would be best - it is in full flower now and by the time the flowers have gone it will probably be a bit late. I want to put it where I'll see it from the house as it is such a delight at this time of year.

I have discovered that I have two different kinds of snowdrops - most of them are Nivalis but this one is quite different. The Nivalis are starting to bulk up a bit which I'm delighted with but it is nice to have a different one too.

The last picture shows the promise of lots of Hazelnuts for next autumn!

Brendan's tree

28 January 2014 16:17:41

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Planted for Brendan - 

Prunus 'Autumnalis Rosea' - The Winter Flowering Cherry.

Potting on

26 January 2014 00:30:22
Primula potted and the propagator has Lavender

Primula potted and the propagator has Lavender

Bit of a mixed bag weatherwise today - I made it to the Country Market today with a few plants but it seems that every time I had to put my nose outside the door the rain was only chucking it down - and in between the sun would come out!

When I got home the same pattern was there - and there had been some significant rain when I was away because we had a small river running down the road! After lunch I decided to take a leaf out of Fran's book and decided to do a bit of work in the greenhouse.

In the autumn I planted some seeds from my Candelabra Primula and was really delighted when they germinated - unfortunately once they had germinated I kind of forgot about them - they were in one of those little propagators outside the greenhouse all winter and I didn't notice that the propagator was filling up with water! I checked them the other day and the seed-tray was actually afloat - Grr! Not Good! So I took the seed tray into the greenhouse and let it drain a bit on the bench.

At the Country Market I was asked if I had any Lavender plants so I took a few slips today too. Think I'll bring the whole lot into the house to get them going.

Today I potted on any of the seedlings that still looked like they might have a chance - so time will tell - and the stuff left in the seedtray was emptied as a mulch around on of the Viburnums so if there were any viable seedling left they will be a nice surprise there!

Then the weather decided to smile on me so I planted the "Brendan" tree in pride of place in the Buddha Garden where I will see it every time I go in or out of the house. No photo of the tree today as it was almost dark before I finished! Still, it was 6 o'clock when I came in - isn't that a REAL stretch in the evenings!!!!

where to start?

23 January 2014 00:26:45

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Finally got to spend some time in the garden today - but it had been so long that I couldn't decide where to start. I ended up doing a bit of "training" of the Salix Alba Chermesina (otherwise know as the willows with the red stems) in the new borders in the front garden. I have coppiced them for the past couple of years but when they re-grow they smother everything else in the borders. My solution is to "raise the canopy" by cutting out all but about half a dozen stems and weaving them together to form a sort of central stem and the plan will be to trim off any regrowth below the level where they are tied. The existing branches will then be pollarded to that level each year. 

Of course, the beauty of willow is that if I don't like it I can just cut them right down next year and start again!

Having had some fun I then found I was able to face a mountain of shredding of stuff cleared from the beds last week. I had the brillinat idea of wheeling the wheelbarrow full of stuff into the shed so it was grand and dry for shredding. This will be added to the newly extended beds beside the shrubbery as my garden moves another step closer to being lawn-free! I'm doing a sort of Lasagne Bed here - not sure how well it will work - but isn't that what gardening is all about!

I hadn't caught up on journals for a few days and it was wonderful to see the excitement jumping out of the various contributions as we all come out of our winter doldrums! 

The day was so pleasant that I stayed out for quite a while, and started weeding the "plants in waiting" - they were covered in Bittercress and once that gets going I find it is a terrible pest! I also found that a lot of the pots were very waterlogged so I raised up as many as I could to let them drain off a bit.

One tray of Candelabra Primula seedlings from my own plants was actually swimming in water in the propagator so it is now draining off in the greenhouse. Next task will be to pot on the seedlings to give them a chance to come on.

I'm happy to see that quite a few slips that I took in the autumn are looking surprisingly alive - just have to have patience now and leave them alone till they get the chance to make some good roots :-)

Bit of a tidy-up

18 January 2014 01:08:06
hamamelis mollis - but no scent!

hamamelis mollis - but no scent!

Managed to spend a couple of hours in the garden today - not up to Rachel's 6 hours, I'm afraid!

Started off trying to lift some of the leaves that I've been ignoring for the past few months - at least on the paths! I was using the Gardenvac but the leaves were far too wet. Looks like I'll have tosort them out by hand when I get around to weeding! Having abandoned that task I got going on tidying up the front woodland and produced a fully laden wheelbarrow of cuttings.

Since my New Year Resolutions include one that says "shred as you go" I started doing just that but unfortunately the darkness caught up on me when i was only about one-third done - but the whellbarrow is safely in the shed so the stuff won't be too wet to shred!

I'm amazed at how much this bit of tidy-up has improved the appearance of the front gardens - now I just need to get that shredding done :-)

been meaning to do this job ...

16 January 2014 01:56:29

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I have a ground-cover hypericum that I really love. After a few years sulking it has really taken off this past year. Unfortunately it completely overtook a rather pretty Bergenia on its travels. I kept meaning to rescue the Bergenia all last year but kept getting distracted by other tasks so today I decided to bite the bullet.

Have to say it was not an easy task involving lots of pulling an tugging trying to remove the unwanted roots from around the tubours of the Bergenia. The only solution was to break up that plant into lots of bits. I had been thinking of putting a clump of Bergenia in one of the new beds in the front garden so instead I was able to make several groups of them instead! I need lots of perennial stuff for these beds. Last year I filled them with annuals but that was just a stop-gap. The Bergenias are ringed around a couple of purple-leaved cordalines I bought on impulse a few weeks ago. They should look good when they bulk up a bit.

The only other task I got done was removing the ugly remains of the lovely Castor Bean plants from last year. Ye gods! What roots! I shouldn't really be surprised considering the giant plants that came from seed over a single season! What a job! I think I might keep them in pots this year :-)

Finished the task by moonlight! Wasn't the moon spectacular tonight! it had a definite orange hue from here - so the other photos were taken by moonlight. Very happy to be doing a bit of "real" gardening at last!

Oh - I also planted the lovely "Helebore Atrorubens" from Johnstown!

And then there is the Badge Lady!

13 January 2014 13:14:14
Repeat offender

Repeat offender

Jacinta is a very special lady on this site. Last year she treated us to a wonderful display of her paintings proving that she is an artist in much more than gardening!

Each year she has provided us with beautifully crafted name tags that have become a feature of our get-together. Since many of us are now "regulars" we usually return these pretty badges to her for safe-keeping till the following year.

Some of us are better than others at remembering to leave the badges ......

Sorry Jacinta - I'm a repeat offender :-(

But a huge Thank You for doing this time-consuming task every year!

Are members aware that Jacinta does this at her own expense? She definitely deserves a round of applause.

My thanks

13 January 2014 00:23:46
My thanks

My thanks

I've been reading all the journals saying such nice things about me and I am positively embarrassed!

I have been fortunate enough to be in a position to coordinate our happy gatherings the past two years. For me, coordinating things like this was something I did during my professional life so please believe me when I say that that part is not very onerous for me. 

What made the task even easier was the way that people stepped up to do the actual work - sometimes within SECONDS of my posting a request for help!

And on the day, I had virtually nothing to do, since the various volunteers were so good at their jobs!

So Rachel and Joan - wonderful job on the raffle

And Clare and Paul - some good giggles over the Kris Kindle !!!! Who would believe that 6 gifts tried to make their way back to their original owners!!!!!

Fran - you played a blinder at the Plant Swap

Peter - your speech was as usual so entertaining - sorry if I got a bit emotional

Thanks also to Gerry Daly for coming along!

And of course a big thank you to Jim in Johnstown for the generous gift of vouchers for the raffle and also to all his staff for taking such good care of us.

But now I come to the biggest thank-you - The Gift Voucher given to me for my small part in coordinating today was extremely generous and I am deeply grateful. I immediately spent it on a lovely tree for my garden that will be a constant reminder of all your generosity.

Time for bed, Children!

11 January 2014 22:45:20
Time for bed, Children!

Time for bed, Children!

Remember Kris Kindle will be wanting you all to be in bed early so you can enjoy your BIG DAY tomorrow - so off you go to dream of beautiful gardens and wonderful plants ....

Since the weather is promising to be a bit wet, Auntie Hazel will not be arriving before 11.45 at the VERY EARLIEST - more likely to be 12 ish .... and my suggestion is that we do our swaps as quickly as we can and then hurry indoors ....

So night-night all .... 

And take care on the roads tomorrow!!!!!


Get-together – Update 4

10 January 2014 20:20:34

Venue: Johnstown Garden Centre

Date: Sunday 12th January

Time: 1 pm – 5 pm.

Plant Swap: 11 am to 1 pm


Taking care of the raffle on the day:

Rachel and JoanG

The Raffle is shaping up to be the best ever! As well as the short holiday break in Co. Clare, Johnstown have again come up with some gift vouchers – and many of you generous members have promised to bring along prizes!

 Kris Kindle

 The heroes taking care on the day:

Clara and PaulyG

The Kris Kindle is one of the best bits of the day – so remember to bring along your little parcels and join in the fun! This takes a little bit of organising on the day so we’ll need to be patient and form an orderly queue …..

Plant Swap

 Fran will be Master of Ceremonies for this event!

Don’t forget – Plants should have a label of some sort with YOUR name, and the name of the RECIPIENT – and of course if you know the name of the plant that would be great too!!!!

 And any “spares” will be in a special bunch – it would be good if they have your name and the name of the plant if you know it. The spares are up for grabs – but any unclaimed plants will be donated to Maureendid’s project. People who want to donate rather than put up for grabs no doubt can just put Maureendid on the label!

I love Helebores

09 January 2014 17:49:34

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I have a confession to make - I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to Helebores. My first attempt to grow these wonderful plants was a total failure! I planted one and it disappeared without trace!

A couple of years ago my sister Elizabeth gave me a present ofa Helleborus Niger, and it thrived - thus beginning the obsession. That year I picked up four different ones - I think in Lidl - and they are various shades of pink Helleborus Orientalis- but one produced some white flowers on the same plant!

If course these plants are great self-seeders so the following year I lifted some seedlings and was told they would take at least 3 years to flower but no - they flowered the next year! They were mostly Niger but one that delayed to this year looks like it will be a lovely deep pink!

Then on a visit to some gardens I came across the "big guys" - Helleborus Argutifolius Corsicus and Helleborus Foetidus (thank you Rachel!)

It just goes on and on!

The best bit is that when the rest of the garden is a wreck these beautiful flowers give me a reason to wander round just to enjoy them - especially on the occasionally bright sunny day!

I'm looking forward to the most recent seedlings transplanted to the Hazel Grove flowering this year - I've peeped a few small buds so far! It's so exciting!

Plants for Johnstown - at last!

07 January 2014 13:29:03
All ready to go!

All ready to go!

It finally stopped raining here this morning so I hurried out to see what might be there in the line of swaps -

So here is the list:

I've already promised 

Fran - Aquilegia "William Guinness" - hope the seedling comes true!

Moya - some willow slips - I'll cut them on Sunday morning!

Terrishoos - Cerinthe seedlings - is 3 ok?

So the plants up for grabs then:

Cerinthe seedlings x 3 Terrishoo, LindaB, Conrad - Gone

Saxifrage "Winston S Churchill" (Pink) x 8 Jacinta, Terrishoos, SallySarah

Saxifrage arendsii 'Purple robe' (red) x 2 Fran, Jacinta - Gone

Alchemilla Mollis x 3

Vinca minor "Atropurpurea" (Burgundy Periwinkle) x 4 - Terrishoos

Osteospermum (Hardy pale lilac) x 7 Conrad, Michelle Marie, Keego, Joann

Kniphofia (Red) x 1 Kniphofia - Gone

Leycesteria (Pheasant Berry) x 3 - Doreen, Jackie Keego -Gone

Tree Lupin seedlings x 6 - Pcon, Joann

Cerastium (Snow-in-summer) x 6 - Pwiseman, Joann

Sedum 'Green Mantle' x 4 - Terrishoos

Buddleia  (variety unknown) x 3 - Krista, AitAileann

And I'll be cutting a good few Willow slips for Moya and Pcon.

I also have a load of seeds for Ricinus Communis and for Solanum Laciniatum

Please let me know if you would like any of them?

Get-together - have I got your name?

06 January 2014 19:39:13

Get-together – Update 3 - Kris Kindle

06 January 2014 19:14:08
helping hands needed

helping hands needed

We are now only 6 days from the Social Event of 2014 - our Annual Get-together!

For those who missed previous journals:

Venue: Johnstown Garden Centre

Date: Sunday 12th January

Time: 1 pm – 5 pm.

Plant Swap: 11 am to 1 pm

The last appeal for volunteers is for the Kris Kindle!

 I hope that you will all consider participating in the Kris Kindle this year. The rule is simple – bring along a wrapped gift of NO MORE THAN €10 value. Can I stress this fact – the €10 is the MAX – so if times are hard with you please do not feel obliged to spend the full amount. Last year I got a fabulous 10 packs of unusual home-grown seeds – monetary value unknown but such a welcome gift!

 In order for the Kris Kindle to run smoothly I need a couple of volunteers – so please step forward!

 I have had a suggestion that when the Kris Kindle gifts are distributed that everyone opens their gift at the one time – previously we have opened each gift as it is awarded! Please let me know which way you would prefer!

 So I hope all those Kris Kindle gifts are wrapped and ready by now!

Get-together - Update 2 - Raffle

02 January 2014 18:36:25

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We are now only 10 days from the Social Event of 2014 - our Annual Get-together!

For those who missed previous journals:

Venue: Johnstown Garden Centre

Date: Sunday 12th January

Time: 1 pm – 5 pm.

Plant Swap: 11 am to 1 pm

So now I'm looking for a couple of volunteers to take charge of the Raffle on the day. If you think this is something you would like to help out with either send me a message or post a response here.

As you probably know the raffle is free for all - and the prizes are all donated. This year we have a Star Prize of a Short Break in a beautiful self-catering house in Co. Clare kindly donated by member AitAileann. The prize consists of either a mid-week break or a weekend, depending on availability. Please check out the website http://www.sandhillshouse.com/  for details.

My idea is that this great prize will be the first prize to be drawn, and then we will continue as before with winners selecting their own prizes as before.

If by any chance the winner of the Short Break feels they will not use it they are free to choose another prize instead and that prize is then available along with the rest of the prizes.

Last year I was very impressed with the generosity of all those who donated prizes and I look forward to a similar response this year.


New Year New Project

01 January 2014 19:54:17

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So moving on for 2014 I'm taking another step towards my "garden with no grass". Following on Rachel's very successful Lasagne Bed last year I'm having a go myself. Unfortunately I would like to do about three different things with this area involving creating terraces and paths but its a bit of a big job to take on all at once.

In the meantime I had those bags of compost from the old compost area. They have been sitting for so long that they had broken down quite a bit more. I reckon they are perfect for inclusion in the Lasagne.

So I marked out the first area to be treated, laid down as many cardboard boxes as I could find and then got cracking with the compost. I've used up three 1-ton bags so far and have managed to get the first layer done. Next job will be to catch up on the shredding and add the proceeds to the mix.

The heavy rain today will be really useful in starting the breaking down of the cardboard so I reckon my "Lasagne" will be starting to cook nicely!


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